Monday, September 29, 2008

Photos from 11...

Oh, I bet some of you thought I was DONE with Italy photos. Never fear...I'm just slow...we still have a week to go!! On Day 11, we set out from our base in Siena to drive around Tuscany. The writing from this date was a bit abbreviated, because I got some sort of food poisoning and lost the will to write :) Enjoy.

Awoke to a white noise of street sounds on the old cobbled streets below our room: Vespas and small trucks transporting locals and their deliveries; pedestrians in search of capuccini; a rollie bag coming or going; a swarm of swallows feasting above.

Off into the Tuscan hills today. First stop was hilly Volterra...famous for its alabaster. Parking was scarce (but free), so we ended up at a dusty lot down the hill a bit. Turns out our lot was near an old town fountain and one of the old city gates. Steep stairway to start our visit. 80 degree temps and sun. A rooster was crowing along the city wall.

In spite of it's must-see status, Volterra was a bit on the unimpressive side...but we made the most of it. The ancient Roman theatre and an ancient Etruscan site were the towns crown jewels. The imposing fortress was was made into a it is off limits including signs to not photograph it! We did anyway. Its a fortress. A Palazzo, a variety of churches, and alabaster shops rounded out the visit. Lunch was pizza on a breezy terrace looking out over Tuscany below.

Drove to Impruneta via San Gimignano...famous for its tower-filled skyline. We had been in SG before with Cheryl and Curt, so we didn't stop on this visit, but the vista as we passed around the town. Wound our way back to Impruneta to find the elusive terra cotta products the town is known. Still nothing open in the sleepy city center, but we found success on the way out of town. An artisan terra cotta maker with an enormous array. Found a terra cotta lion head we liked.

Returned to Siena for dinner. Discovered that on Monday night...lots closed. Tried to eat at Osteria Nonna Gina (thanks for the recommendation, Sarah)...but it was closed :( Tried another favorite...also closed. Took a chance at an outdoor spot on the Piazza del Mercato: Cafe Finistra. Jeff had dishes he raved about (ravioli al ragu, chicken with rosemary, and Tuscan beans 'faigoli bianche'). Unfortunately, I had to eat lite due to the onset of something icky. Either food poisoning or a 24-hour virus. A cold shower followed by restless sleep. I will live :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two hotels...

Simply catching up from my trips this week. Here are two more shots in my hotel window series. The first from the Hilton Checkers in LA, and the second from the Grand Hyatt in Seattle. In all, I estimate that I have assembled and printed about 50 of these window shots. The series has far exceeded my expectations, and is turning into a nice tight collection. Who knew :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pretty things...

Life is a bit stressful at the moment...and it helps to think about the good stuff...the pretty, shiny things that make a gray day brighter.

On Sunday, as Jeff and I wrapped up a gray weekend in Seattle, we took in some of the local color. Most important...our lunch at Two Bells, where I introduced my Jeff to the pleasures of a yummy burger. This one is my usual...the blue burger. Wow.

We also visited the wondrous Seattle Public Library, with many amazing architectural features. Jeff took a bunch of great photos, so I will leave you to his blog for those. But here are a couple that I took of some glowing, all-red hallways.

And finally, a shot I snapped at the SAM sculpture garden. I just love how the red white and green pop in this shot.

Another fifteen minutes...well...two seconds...of fame...

Jeff and I were in Seattle this weekend to participate in a fantastic community service event. (Major kudos to our brave organizer, Josh!) Alas, this is where I twisted my ankle (just a bit) on some rain-soaked rocks...but I did get an action scene in the news story of our project. Here is the clip from Seattle's KING 5. I'm at about the 54-second mark. (Jeff makes an appearance in the crowd scene near the end.)

For those of you keeping track, it has been nearly 30 years since I was last on TV. Yes, my first major flash of stardom...with my middle school chorus...singing Barry Manilow tunes on local morning television.

Thank goodness THAT clip is lost to time in the pre-VCR days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Adventures in art...

Saturday morning, Jeff and I ventured into the fog-covered Marina to take a figure drawing class over at Fort Mason (where I take my regular photography classes). We had a blast...although I will tell you that I will not be abandoning my photography anytime soon. Here is the result of one of my "gesture" exercises. Hopefully, you can recognize this as a human model :)

Jeff did a really nice full-figure drawing, but we left it in class to serve as a "before" sample for comparison. My "before" picture is...uh...less impressive.

Photo grab bag...

Sometimes, words just get in the way :)

Over the past few weeks, I've backed up with some fun photos just screaming out for a witty story to frame them. Well, rather than get further behind, I thought I would just let them speak for themselves. These are shots from two parts of the Golden Gate National Park.

First up are some shots from along Crissy Field in the City. The highlight of the day was a colorful art installation piece sponsored by the National Park Service, called Cool Globes.

Next up, some shots from our visit to the Fort Baker portion of the Golden Gate National Park. This is a little-visited portion of the park adjacent to the Marin Headlands. Recently, the Park Service opened a new hotel/conference center in Fort Baker, in an effort to re-use the historic buildings of the Fort. The result is the Cavallo Point Lodge, with its charming restaurant, Murray Circle...certainly becoming a local brunch spot. Along the way, we spotted a coyote and checked out famous wire art.

Oh yes, and here is a shot of one our yummy, homemade goat cheese, bacon, and spinach omelettes. YUM!!